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Sica electric belling machines: Enabling high performance

News 22.05.2017

The need for sustainable innovations in plastic pipe production that would ensure high performance, process flexibility and ease of use coupled with reduced energy consumption, has recently become critical. It has markedly affected the design of various downstream equipment at extrusion lines, including belling machines.

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As a specialist in manufacture of downstream machines for pipe extrusion, Sica has been certainly aware of the above-mentioned factors. Sica first sought to replace conventional hydraulic and pneumatic machines by belling solutions with an electrically driven socket forming unit. Switching to electrical enabled the following: high dynamicity, low noise, utmost precision and repeatability, and complex real-time process monitoring (working strokes and speeds), critical for belling machines retrofitted from pneumatic ones.

Avoiding hydraulic means a completely transformed and improved production, namely:

  • No oil-related functional problems (regulating system response) coming from viscosity variations
  • No oil-related cleanliness issues (leaks resulting in dirt and slipping & falling hazard) making the work of an operator unsafe
  • No environmental issues associated with hydraulic technology: reduced noise levels of electrical equipment, no more need to dispose of hydraulic fluids
  • Much lower energy consumption, only during the socket forming cycle itself.

The market response to the new Sica Unibell electric belling machines for PVCo-U pipe, up to 200...250 mm in size, has been very positive. The machines perform pipe heating with short-wave IR heating elements ("short wave ovens"). They maximize the efficiency of heating due to precise oven geometry, element distribution and configuration, considering the specific polymer to be heated.

The numerous advantages of the system include reduced power consumption, thanks to the fact that heating elements are only operated within the heating phase and strictly until the pipe reaches the final thermal requirements. In traditional ovens, on the other hand, only a tiny part of power consumed go to pipe heating, while the rest keeps the oven at the working temperature or heats the environment unsustainably.

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SICA sold some 60 belling machines of Unibell series during the past two years. The positive market response incited the company to take even a closer look at the electrical technology and optimize it as applied to plastic pipe thermoforming and for increased process efficiency/reliability.

Electrical thermoforming solutions have as well been extended to Unibell 400 (for < 400 mm PVC-U pipe) and Everbell (for < 200 mm PP pipe) series, as well as to Multibell 110 Rieber belling machines for Rieber system multisocketing (for < 110 mm PVC-U pipe).

Sica's investments in the new technologies are not only driven by environmental issues. They enable reduction of pipe production costs, resulting in faster returns on capital expenditure.


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